Pulaski County Council Defers Action on Salary Matrix Update

Confusion remains over Pulaski County’s salary matrix, in spite of a new set of written guidelines. Last month, the county council adopted a written set of “Matrix Rules” to help department heads interpret the pay structure that’s already in place. But during last week’s meeting, Auditor Laura Wheeler said the matrix itself would have to be updated to comply with the guidelines, and presented a proposed update to the salary ordinance.

However, Wheeler apparently included the EMS department in the updated salary matrix, without realizing that department isn’t currently part of that system. Council member Linda Powers pointed out the error. She explained that when the matrix was put together, EMS employees got a pay raise, but council members had wanted more time to figure out how to incorporate the department into the longevity-based pay structure. “It was kind of like the Sheriff’s Office, where they had their schedule that was a little bit different than ours and EMS was going to have, because it’s based on their certifications,” she explained.”

But that led to another question: whether the matrix rules still apply to the EMS department, even if the matrix itself does not. If the rules don’t apply, then any part-time EMS employees making less than $14 an hour would not see a pay raise, as those in other departments would.

Council President Jay Sullivan felt that Wheeler’s proposed updates wouldn’t apply to the EMS department, since it isn’t part of the salary matrix. But Powers wanted to double check with the county’s attorney before approving the changes. In the end, the Pulaski County Council decided to wait until next month before taking any action.